Vancouver strata bans flags
Should stratas make exceptions for Canadian flags? (FOTOLIA)
Dear Tony: I live in a Vancouver highrise facing English Bay. This last week I have noticed a number of units starting to hang Canada flags from their balconies in anticipation of Canada Day. On the weekend, owners received a notice from the management company reminding everyone that the hanging of any objects from our balconies, including flags, was strictly prohibited and requested that everyone remove their Canadian flags immediately or face the risk of fines. We are not overly patriotic, but I have to say this seems like an extremely foolish action. I saw the president of council in the elevator and he knew nothing about the letter and was just as surprised to see it posted in the elevator. We had a discussion about residents being able to display flags and suggested that for Canada Day this should be a reasonable expectation. Why do these bylaws have to be all or nothing? I love condo living, but have to admit the strict use of bylaws and rules certainly leaves a bad taste for such an incident.
Dear Fatima: Strata corporations are permitted to adopt bylaws that regulate the use and enjoyment of common property, common assets and strata lots. Throughout the life of most buildings we often see bylaws that pop up that appear harsh or unrealistic. These bylaws are always the result of an incident where an occupant(s) has seriously caused a nuisance to one or more of the other residents. I have often heard bylaws referred to as the curb of the road. When someone goes astray, there is a boundary that puts them back in line. The bylaws are not a manifesto that requires an individual to monitor our daily activities; however, they are necessary ensure consistency, fairness, and clear expectation on the behavior of owners, occupants, and their tenants and guests. A reminder notice is helpful for all occupants. Bylaws can easily accommodate special events and circumstances, which provide for flexibility but still maintain consistency. For example, a bylaw could provide an exemption that permits flags of a specific limit on size to be hung from balconies from June 28-July 3. Strata corporations should review their bylaws on a regular basis to ensure they comply with changes in the Strata Property Act or any other enactment of law, and changes in your community.
Tony Gioventu, Executive Director
Condominium Home Owners' Association